Jesus is the key to everything. The Old Testament is properly understood by the words and revelation of Jesus Christ. This may unsettle those who trust a critical, academic view of the scriptures. Sure, we ought to grasp the author’s message as it relates to the original audience. But if we fail to receive that message through the revelation of Jesus Christ and the grace we have through the Spirit and the blood, then the power of God’s Word for our lives will stay trapped in some-century B.C. Only the lens of Jesus Christ Himself allows us to see everything as it really is. He told the Jewish leaders, “You search the scriptures…it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).
Psalm 140 is not an occasion to rail against and pray against those who oppose us. The Lord Jesus taught us, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who…persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). God has shown us who our real enemy is. Peter told us, “your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Paul wrote, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). If we are praying against anyone, no matter how sinful they are, we are not under the new covenant in Jesus’ blood. Had the early church prayed for the death of Saul of Tarsus, we may be missing half the New Testament today!
Yet, who is the one who “continually stirs up wars” in the life of a Christian (Psalm 140:2)? Whose tongue has been proven poisonous and sharp as a serpent’s (140:3)? Sinners may be pawns in the overall scheme, but who is it that hides traps for you, sets snares for you, and intends to trip up your feet (140:4-5)? This is the work of demons. There is no sinner on earth whom a Christian ought to ask God to cast into hell! We are told to pray for them, for repentance and salvation. But the cry regarding “spiritual hosts of wickedness” is, “May they be cast into the fire, into deep pits from which they cannot rise” (140:10). And, indeed, we know they will be.
Despite all their wickedness, God assures our hearts with wonderful and definite promises. We do not need to get angry. We do not need to swat our feeble fists in the air, because our mighty God has already judged the evil one. What a happy triumph quietly rests in the heart of a believer who reads Revelation 20:10, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” As if this were not enough, we have confidence each time we engage in spiritual warfare. David declares, “You have covered my head in the day of battle” (Psalm 140:7). For every son and daughter of God, our Father graciously bestows a helmet of salvation, and He Himself is our protection from every attempt to take out the precious life within us.
Stand in the day of battle. Take courage. Your God is greater than every devil and every power. Lay hold of the promises by faith, and watch as every word from the mouth of God becomes a sword against the enemy of your soul.
The Rock Church